Fitness Trackers – 16 Questions to Get You up to Speed

Fitness Trackers – 16 Questions to Get You up to Speed

1.Are there any waterproof fitness trackers?

The answer is yes. Not so long ago this question was a bit harder to answer. Now, there quite a few different options of waterproof fitness trackers on the market. You will need to be careful when choosing as there are subtle differences between waterproof and water resistant and you don’t want your newly acquired tracker to come to a watery end.

2.What fitness tracker can i swim with?

A waterproof fitness tracker. Check out the post on fitness trackers for swimming to get a good sense of what is available.

3.Do fitness trackers cause cancer?

This question probably stems from the still unproven claims that cell phones can cause cancer and people have grouped fitness trackers and mobiles together. As it turns out, this is an unfair comparison. Fitness trackers generally use bluetooth to communicate which is at a much lower output to cellphones and of course trackers aren’t held close to your head. The difference between cellphones and trackers is demonstrated in the video below. As such, there is currently no definitive link between fitness trackers and cancer and as the market has matured there is more evidence to support this theory.

4.What fitness tracker should I buy?

Of course, as with any purchase the answer to this really depends on what you are looking for. There are many different elements that need to be considered to help you narrow down the options. The main questions that you have to ask yourself are

a) Am I someone who is concerned with the aesthetics and the look?
b) Is a display important to me?
c) Does it need to be waterproof?
d) How long does the battery life need to be between charges?
e) Do I want to be part of a community and part of the people use the app? Which app suits me best?

We believe, that answering these questions will get you to a shortlist of fitness trackers that are right for you. You may also come up with more questions as you go to further refine your options to give you a shortlist then it is all down to personal preference. Check out our handy guide to choosing a fitness tracker to help you further

5.Do fitness trackers work on elliptical trainers?

Fitness trackers do work on elliptical trainers but the level of accuracy may not be the greatest. Some Fitbit trackers like the Fitbit Charge HR automatically recognise that you are on an elliptical trainer, detecting the motion of your wrists pulling backwards and forwards on the machines handles through the accelerometers. However, as the devices are designed primarily as pedometers you will sometimes get varying results on the actual distances covered.

6.Do fitness trackers work on treadmills?

TreadmillsYes, fitness trackers do work on treadmills but you have to be aware that fitness generally track movement by interpreting movement data sent from their accelerometers. This means, that sometimes the results you get from your tracker can vary based on how you move your arms. Overall, the results on a treadmill should be pretty accurate.

7.What fitness tracker syncs with myfitnesspal?

myfitnesspal list a number of partner services on its website. This should give you an idea of what fitness trackers sync and also give you some indication of how to set up your tracker so that it works well with myfitness pal. Itz will be somewhere along the lines of these set-up instructions for a Fitbit fitness tracker.

8.Which fitness tracker tracks cycling?

To get the best bang for your buck we would recommend moving away from a fitness tracker that tracks cycling and aim towards something that is better suited for multi-sports. This can range from the more affordable end of the market with the Moov Now complete with a band that can be placed around your ankle to tracker cadence all the way to smart watches. As the watches get more sophisticated so does there functionality so not only will you be able to track your rides but also your overall fitness and how that feeds into your ride times. In this space, some of the main contenders are the Fitbit Blaze, Garmin Forerunner series and the Polar V800.

9.Should i use a fitness tracker?

It is a good question to ask. In our opinion, the group with the most to gain from the use of a fitness tracker are those who like to track their progress and see how they are progressing towards their fitness goal. If you are somebody who wants more data and phone integration and payments you will probably need to consider going down the route of purchasing a smart watch such as the Apple Watch.

10.What does a fitness tracker do?

A fitness tracker makes use of the relationship between software, accelerometers and sensors to measure data pertaining to fitness. Typical measurements that are taken are sleep patterns, steps in day, stairs climbed and calories burned. This data is subsequently uploaded into a software application where it is compared with your own personal historic statistics or sometimes fellow users of the app you are using to analyse the data. The aim is to notice patterns over time to improve your overall fitness and increase awareness of health, mind and body. This post give some more detail about the science behind fitness trackers.

11.Which fitness trackers have gps?

See below for an idea of the current fitness trackers that have GPS capabilities:

12.What fitness trackers work with weight watchers?

Weightwatchers fans can make use of their proprietary activity tracker or trackers made by Jawbone or Fitbit.

Instructions on how to sync can be found here and bear in mind that you will need a relevant online subscription to get the full benefit.

13.How long does the battery last on a fitness tracker?

There is a large variation on how long the battery lasts on a fitness tracker. Naturally, most of that is down to the amount of bells, whistles and whizzbang features on the tracker itself. So for example something like the Samsung Gear Fit 2 or Apple Watch has to support GPS, screens etc so will weigh in around 5 days of useful life. At the other end of the scale you will get simpler devices such as the Moov Now, Fitibit Zip or Garmin Vivofit which generally have a coin like watch battery and last in the region of 6 – 12 months between charges.

14.What fitness tracker works with s health?

S health or Samsung Health in its rebranded identity is optimised to work with Samsung trackers like the Gear Fit. That being said it is compatible with other devices including iPhone and Fitbit trackers but the functionality is more limited.

15.Where to buy fitness trackers?

This one is easy and concise. Fitness trackers are available at Amazon as well as in the majority of supermarkets and sports outlets. My advice would be to check out reviews, understand why and what you want a fitness tracker for and seek out the best one you can afford either on-line or in store.

16.What fitness tracker is used on biggest loser?

If you are a fan of the biggest loser you may have seen some of the participants wearing a tracker, such as Chandra in this video.

For those that are interested it is a Garmin vivofit of which there is a biggest loser edition on Amazon. Of course, more than likely it is featured by virtue of product placement, so it isn’t necessarily the best device out there. That being said I quite like the vivofit and you can read more about it in the in depth vivofit review.

How Do Fitness Trackers Measure Sleep?

How Do Fitness Trackers Measure Sleep?

How do fitness trackers measure sleep

I know for a fact that if I get a good night’s sleep I feel ready for the day ahead. However, I would like to know more; about my sleep and often find myself wondering how do fitness trackers measure sleep.

Indeed, as time goes, research is beginning to show that sleeping well is a massive part of maintaining a fit and healthy body. In fact, recent research has shown that lack of sleep can appear to have the same affects as being drunk or make you crave fatty calorific foods. Knowing this, the manufacturers of fitness trackers decided early on that sleep tracking was of great benefit. We are going to delve further and take a look at the science behind sleep tracking to help us understand how do fitness trackers measure sleep.

A brief science of sleep

It is a fascinating topic which in simple terms, sleep can be broken down into 2 phases. Firstly NREM (non rapid eye movement), followed by REM (rapid eye movement). Each one of these can then be further broken down into 3 phases of NREM sleep, followed by 1 NREM phase taking you all the way from when you go to sleep to just before you wake.

During each phase of sleep there are differing levels of brain activity, eye movement, breathing, blood pressure and muscle tension. Fascinating stuff and you can find a more in depth analysis here.

Those in the business of sleep research have agreed on a technique known as polysomnography to measure sleep. This is performed in lab conditions and requires the attachment of multiple wires to the subject undergoing the study to measure multiple channels of data. Clearly, this isn’t practical for a daily use fitness tracker and a different technique was required.

How do fitness trackers measure sleep

Numerous fitness on the market come with sleep tracking functionality and some even claim that they are able to track how long you spend in the different phases of sleep. The question is how?

According to Fitbit and the makes of the Mi band app the ability to measure sleep comes from the fitness tracker’s accelerometers. The software in the tracker detects movements, speed and direction of the accelerometer. If no movement is detected for a certain period of time, let’s say an hour an assumption is made that you are asleep. This is a technique know as actigraphy, each manufacturer will have  a proprietary algorithm to interpret the data. The results will be the ability to provide details of how long you sleep, when you were restless and even when you are awake

However, even with all these goodies, according to the experts this method of tracking sleep is prone to inaccuracies and people should not come to rely on any fitness tracker that tracks sleep. Aware of these criticisms Fitbit and others are putting more effort into improving the sleep tracking aspects and the Fibit Alta HR is adding the input from the heart rate monitor to help identify what phase of sleep you are currently in.

Verdict

In our view, fitness trackers that measure sleep are useful to view long term patterns of your sleep and get a feeling for your sleeping habits but they should not be relied on. If you feel that you are suffering from any form of sleeping disorder seek the advice of a medical professional

Best Fitness Tracker for Spinning 2020

Best Fitness Tracker for Spinning 2020

Are you a fan of cycling or spinning? Perhaps you like outdoor cycling or maybe prefer indoor? There are some of us that like to mix it up, depending on the mood of the day. Nevertheless, we all like to know how much work we put in and how much we get done. Regardless of what exercise activity you prefer, we all want to know our results. Fortunately, there is a little device that can help you get all that data. It’s called a fitness tracker. Here to help you out with your choice we made a little list to help you find the best fitness tracker for spinning or if you don’t like spinning you can use the fitness tracker for stationary cycling too.

 

Fitness trackers for spinning

1. Tomtom Spark 3 Cardio + Music

Tomtom Spark 3 Cardio + Music can be used for spinning

First up is the TomTom Spark 3 Cardio + Music. This fitness tracker is wrist-based. It’s very useful for spinning. It also covers multiple exercises, not just spinning. It tracks very accurately and it’s a great device. The only downside is when it comes to heart rate data tracking, and compared to other data this one is not that good but still does the job accurately. Pretty consistent device.

This device offers a lot more than just heart rate data and calorie burn predictions. Perhaps you are interested in more precise data or metrics, this fitness tracker can be wirelessly connected to a wide array of cadence sensors or maybe even an indoor static bike.

If you want to get optimal readings, you can add parameters to the watch. The wheel size option or maybe distance tracking, which make the watch use its own generic abilities.

This tracker offers loads of data processing, but it is not that user-friendly. It doesn’t have a touchscreen. You can say it is a bit old school, using a rigid button to navigate your way through the data readings of your BPM, time active, heart rate zone and calorie burn.

Fortunately, when things are processed through the app, after your workout, everything seems far more organized and user-friendly. For example, you can see your heart rate data throughout the whole workout cycle, divided into separate active heart rate zones. Although, not a 100% accurate reading, it is still pretty accurate.

The app is really easy to use- there aren’t many complications, like tips on how to improve, it just gives you a clear image on your top metrics and if you don’t like to complicate things then this will be enough for you. Data enthusiasts, however, will be left unsatisfied.

On the upside, this fitness tracker has tons of add-ons that are inbuilt and will give your exercises a boost. Take the music player for example. It’s a really excellent way to just leave your phone into the locker room and enjoy the gym without thinking about your phone for an hour. All with the pleasure of listening to your favorite workout songs.

Check the latest price on Amazon

2. Moov Now

Moov Now Fitness Tracker can be used for Spinning

Next up is the Moov Now fitness tracker. It might not have the most eye-catching design, don’t let that fool you. This little fitness tracker has it all. Inside the little circle, pod lies everything needed for tracking all your favorite exercise activities, spinning tracking included, all that with clockwork precision.

Unfortunately, this fitness tracker does not come with a heart rate monitor integrated but if that is something that interests you check out the Moov HR Sweat . The Moov Now tracks something much more relevant. This device will soon become your best spinning partner. By keeping it attached to your ankle it can measure cadence. This means that it’ll give you a result of how many rotations you are making with the pedals per minute. It is surely a key segment in your performance., this fitness tracker is incredibly precise that it notices when you slow or pump up the pace.

Even though it is incredibly accurate and is one of the best fitness trackers for spinning out there, the Moov Now is far from perfect. The fact that it does not include a heart rate monitor is a disadvantage. However, the cadence tracking is top of the notch, frankly, it is a shame though that you cannot see how your body is going to react to all of that energy that you’ll give.

It has its upside too. For example, it’s a great motivator. Helping with your exercise is the simple vocal cues that can be heard using headphones. It’s not like those audio coaches that tell you how to pump up your pace, it’s merely a simple alert to let you know how your cycle is proceeding. Your current time and average cadence are presented frequently.
If you like to keep things simple, you’ll love the end when it shows you all your data in a minimalistic, yet pleasant order.

Check the latest price on Amazon

3. Wahoo Tickr X

Wahoo Tickr X fitness tracker can be used for spinning

Finally, we have the Wahoo Tickr X. When they came up with this fitness tracker they were thinking outside of the box. This is not a basic tracker that gets strapped around your ankle. This model uses a heart rate monitor that gets strapped to your chest. Turns out the results are an astonishing.
Along with the state of the art heart rate tracking, this fitness tracker has a sensor that measures different metrics while doing different exercises, for example, if you’re running it’ll measure distance and for spinning it’ll measure cadence.
Although many would argue that wearing a chest strap can be really uncomfortable to wear, tests show that it is quite the opposite. The Wahoo Tickr X turned out to be quite comfy and in absolutely no way it will restrict you during your exercises, the strap is adjustable and the sensors pick up the reading perfectly even if you don’t have it strapped tight.
Like I said, the benefits of this fitness tracker are the pin-point heart rate accuracy. On the downside, the lack of a screen makes it less manageable, but it offers a lot of options to help you with that. It can be synced with a Smartphone-app to present to you live metrics also audio alerts that’ll give you reports on how you are coming along with your cycle. It can also be connected via Bluetooth with other gym equipment to give you even further live results. One of the most amazing features is that it gives you the opportunity to have a look at your current heart rate zone. Meaning that you’ll be able to see exactly how hard you are working out and how all of that affects you.

Check the latest price on Amazon

Verdict

Based on features alone I’d strongly advise you to go for the Wahoo Tickr X simply because it is the best fitness tracker for spinning. But if you find that wearing a tracker on your chest is uncomfortable, then go for the minimalistic yet precise Moov Now.


Misfit Shine Review

Misfit Shine Review

Starting with a design and a dream, the Misfit Shine was the product of one of the more successful IndieGoGo campaigns, reaching its $100,000 goal in the first nine hours and closing its campaign with over eight times more than it had initially hoped to raise. At the time of its release, the Misfit Shine not only featured a pleasing minimalist design more akin to jewelry than that of a fitness tracker, but it also had something other models didn’t  – Full waterproofing. However, as some of the big fitness tracker companies finally unlock the secret of true waterproofing while still having all their major features, how does the Misfit Shine stack up? Read our Misfit Shine Review to find out.

Design

Misfit Shine Fitness TrackerAs Misfit Wearables, the company that produces the Misfit Shine, was co-founded by former Apple CEO John Sculley, it is understandable that you can see Apple’s influence in the design, particularly in the clean lines and relatively futuristic nature of it all. However, it is the design of the Misfit Shine that is one of the most striking things about the product overall.

Made from aerospace grade aluminum, it not only puts the “shine” in Misfit Shine but it makes the entire product incredibly light. The small aluminum disc attaches to a dongle, wristband, or necklace (that is sold separately) via a powerful magnet. On its own, it only weighs about 9g, rising up to 16g when the wrist strap is included.

The nicest feature of the design is that it can indeed be worn anywhere. If you have never particularly liked the look of fitness trackers or don’t want people to know you have joined the trend, the disc can just as easily be slipped in your pants pocket while you still reap the benefits. As the Misfit Shine is also fully waterproof, you don’t need to worry about accidentally running it through the wash either. Unfortunately, the fact that you can actually wear it anywhere does make it occasionally prone to inaccurate readings since you tend to move arms more than any other part of the body, making the readings higher when worn on the wrist, for example.

Of course, if you do decide to wear it, it doesn’t look like a fitness tracker either. It can easily be passed off as a piece of jewelry with no screen to give it away and only a ring of LED lights that come on when tapped to display your daily goal progress. It also uses the LED ring to display the time in a slightly more confusing way with the hour being a solid color and the minute flashing at the closest location on the LED ring. Unfortunately, that lack of display features, as well as a few other key features that people look for might be a con for some just as it is a pro for others.

Features

The Misfit Shine was released at a time when there really was no good waterproof alternative, and with waterproofing of up to 50m, it still remains one of the best waterproof fitness trackers on the market. Unfortunately, to get this waterproofing, they had to sacrifice a lot of the nice extra features that non-waterproof models have.

So what does the Misfit Shine have? Well, it lacks some of the more advanced features like GPS and heart rate monitoring, and it also lacks an altimeter to monitor how many stairs you climbed. However, it does feature all the key features that people look of in a fitness track such as steps taken, calories burned, and sleep monitoring, although the sleep monitoring can be a little spotty if you toss and turn, or worse, forget to triple tap to activate it.

All of that information is transferred to the Misfit app that was once iOS only, but is now available on Android as well. The interface is clean and easy to understand and the Misfit Shine seems to recognize when you are doing activities like running, cycling, or swimming really well. However, you have to first tag the activity in the app before you start.

The app provides a lot of different metrics that you can look over if you are tracking your progress on a long-term basis, but it doesn’t have any nice little features like inactivity reminders. However, its daily goal log does allow you to give yourself a nice challenge.

As for the battery life, the Misfit Shine has a pretty stunning four month battery. However, it is not rechargeable, so every four months you will need to replace the watch battery inside.The Bluetooth LE connectivity keeps power usage to a bare minimum, so depending on how much you use the display, it could very well keep working beyond the initial four months.

Conclusion

When it first came out, the Misfit Shine was probably a little expensive for anyone who didn’t need its sturdy waterproofing. However, while time has lowered its price and made its major selling point – the waterproofing – a little moot, time can’t change the fact that it is a solid fitness tracker. It does everything a fitness tracker needs to do, and it doesn’t even need to clutter up your wrist to do it. Whether you choose to wear it or just keep it on your person, this definitely isn’t a product you need to worry about getting damaged by blunt force or water, so the sturdiness itself can be a major boon.

If you don’t want to wear your fitness tracker, but still want to be able to track certain metrics for your health, athletic, or weight loss needs, the Misfit Shine has now become a great and affordable alternative to other models that have a lot of bells and whistles you don’t actually need or maybe even want.

TomTom Spark Review

TomTom Spark Review

After Garmin made the huge leap from GPS production into the fitness tracker game, it seems only natural that their eternal competitor, upon seeing the success, would make the jump as well. So they have with the introduction of their feature-packed TomTom Spark.

Aimed at more serious athletes like those who enjoy running, cycling, and swimming, the TomTom Spark packs a huge amount of functionality right onto your wrist in a sports watch-fitness tracker hybrid that aims to fill a broader need than some other models. However, with so many competitors already out there in this increasingly crowded market, how does the Spark stand up? Find out, in our TomTom Spark Review

Design

[easyazon_image align=”center” height=”500″ identifier=”B015CDWGQA” locale=”US” localize=”y” src=”https://www.trackershowdown.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/51hFonBFu2BL.jpg” tag=”tracker-showdown-20″ width=”457″ alt=”Tom Tom Spark review”]When it comes to design, you probably shouldn’t judge the TomTom Spark by it. It doesn’t exactly jump out of the box with sheer style. While it may sit relatively thin on the wrist, it still looks like a chunky piece of black plastic with its fairly large LCD monochrome screen. The strap is much of the same, lacking the supreme flexibility of silicone and instead being made of sturdy-feeling black rubber. However, the clasp is made up of a loop and two poppers that does happen to give a very secure fit. One plus of its external design is the sturdy rubber is likely what lends to its waterproofing of up to 40m.

However, the initial impressions of the design should fall by the wayside once the TomTom Spark is charged up. It does have some rather unintuitive features to it, like turning on the backlight by placing your hand over the display, for example. However, the display itself is big, bold, and super easy to use and understand if you are in motion and just want a quick check.

Controls aren’t done by touch screen, but rather a four-way button that navigates the menu. While the slight bulge of the button does little for aesthetics, it does make it simple to use with logically laid out menus to boot. Since the [easyazon_link identifier=”B015CDWGQA” locale=”US” tag=”tracker-showdown-20″ localize=”y”]TomTom Spark also features music playback[/easyazon_link], the buttons and menus that are easy to use even with sweaty hands are actually quite welcome.

Features

Ah, the features. If you aren’t at all impressed with the design of the TomTom Spark (and nobody blames you for that), it’s okay because it is the features of this fitness tracker that really sell it. It might be faster to put all the things that the TomTom Spark doesn’t do, but you probably don’t mind if it doesn’t tie your running shoes or order a post-gym beer for you.

All joking aside, the TomTom Spark actually does a lot. It does the usual things like tracking your steps, calories burned, sleep monitoring, and stairs climbed, but it also features GPS, music playback, and heart rate monitoring. But wait! There’s more! The TomTom Spark can even go deeper into all your favorite activities like running, cycling, and swimming by tracking your routes as well as measuring more specific metrics like your strokes and your strides.

Not a single one of those features is pioneering in the field of fitness trackers and sports watches, but to find so many features in one product is actually pretty spectacular. What’s more is that almost all of those features work well.

One really great example is the heart rate monitoring. In many fitness trackers, it can be relatively hit or miss, but in the TomTom Spark it gives relatively accurate metrics, and it is the same with calories burned. While you can see many of your current numbers and goals right from the watch interface, you can actually see [easyazon_link identifier=”B015CDWGQA” locale=”US” tag=”tracker-showdown-20″ localize=”y”]your heart monitoring and activity log for the entire day[/easyazon_link] and the long-term in the TomTom MySports Connect app. While this app is incredibly detailed and you should take advantage of it for your fitness needs, the Spark also connects with other fitness apps like RunKeeper and Strava.

While the TomTom Spark’s app is incredibly detailed, making it impossible to cover every single metric you can track and monitor. Those not incredibly into every physical activity might find it too detailed. Sometimes the simple things you want to look at can get lost among all the details, which might make it less appealing to less active people.

While it has many features, the Spark lacks a few other small features like the ability to download training plans and doesn’t have the connectivity to other music apps like Spotify. While the TomTom Spark and all its capabilities work without even needing your phone on your person and easily syncs up to wireless headphones, you still have to tediously connect it to your PC or Mac and drag and drop MP3s into a software despite the Spark appearing as a drive, which would have been much easier. Mac users actually have it worse as they are forced to upload their entire iTunes library.

Finally, let’s talk about the battery. At this point, everyone knows that the more a fitness tracker does the less battery life it will have. It is the heart rate monitoring, GPS, and music playback that are the real energy sinks. So the battery life varies.

If you are using the GPS, heart rate monitoring, and the music playback, you only have about five hours of battery. That rises to nine hours with just GPS and heart rate monitoring, then 11 hours for GPS only. If you are just using the watch functions, the charge extends to around 14 days before you will need to juice it back up.

Conclusion

It is important to always remember there is quite a world of difference between fitness trackers and sports watches. Fitness trackers are aimed at a more casual market while sports watches are for more hardcore athletes. The hybrid products of these two fill a market for people that are occasionally casual but want to move into a more dedicated realm.

The TomTom Spark is more sports watch than fitness tracker, and while the huge number of features makes it seem like it is the best of the best, sometimes more casual users will get lost in those features. For those who prize simplicity, this isn’t the fitness tracker for them. However, if you are an avid runner, cyclist, or swimmer and want to get the most accurate and in-depth readings into your desired physical activity, the Spark packs a lot of substance into a tight package for the price.

[easyazon_image align=”center” height=”500″ identifier=”B015CDWGQA” locale=”US” localize=”y” src=”https://www.trackershowdown.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/51hFonBFu2BL.jpg” tag=”tracker-showdown-20″ width=”457″ alt=”Tom Tom Spark review”]

[easyazon_cta align=”center” identifier=”B015CDWGQA” key=”wide-orange” locale=”US” localize=”y” tag=”tracker-showdown-20″]

Polar Loop Review

Polar Loop Review

Long before Garmin got into the fitness tracker game and Fitbit made them a stylish new trend, Polar was already in the fitness tracking business. Their company was built on producing heart rate monitors for athletes and their governing bodies since the 1970s. It is only natural that they would eventually make the jump from providing high end heart rate monitors to providing wearables for even novice athletes to enjoy. The Polar Loop presented their first attempt at this as Polar’s very first wearable fitness tracker, and those familiar with Polar had extremely high hope for it. However, every first attempt must have room for improvement as we have seen from every single other brand, but how does Polar stand up with their Polar Loop? Find out in our Polar Loop Review

Design

Polar Loop Fitness TrackerYou can tell at just a glance that the Polar Loop borrows a lot for its aesthetic from fitness trackers that were already on the market. The hard rubber wristband sits innocuously on the wrist displaying an array of red LEDs that make up the display. With the touch of a button, it can activate the display and toggle which screen you are seeing. However, that button is occasionally difficult to find with just your fingers and even then so flat that it can almost be difficult to press. This makes switching or turning on the display while doing for intensive activities, like jogging, a bit more difficult than it should be since it will likely require you to stop or slow down in order to try to find and push the singular, but well hidden button on your wrist.

As for how the band clasps the wrist, it uses the old school metal buckle that folds in and out so that you can secure and remove the band as needed. While the design is nothing particularly stunning, that’s okay. For many who use fitness trackers seriously, the aesthetics of the design usually isn’t such a big deal. However, how the band secures and how snugly it fits can make or break whether the tracker gets used, this is why that old school metal clasp is such an odd choice.

What likely was a huge shock to buyers who don’t read a review first is the sheer size of the Polar Loop band. It is probably the perfect fit for a ham-fisted yeti, but no one else. It is not even a case of the band being designed for primarily men either, you could fit two adult-sized thick male wrists in the default fitting. However, while you can resize the band, you will pretty much be performing surgery on it by removing the clasp and actually cutting off a portion of band before reattaching the clasp. Unfortunately, athletes need to be careful to measure their wrist precisely because if you cut off too much, there is no going back. One nice feature is that Polar does replace the bands for free if that does happen, though.

Features

If you have used other first time fitness trackers from other brands, then you should be pretty impressed with Polar’s first attempt. They packed a lot into the Loop that has only recently been figured out by other models. Waterproofing is the first notable example since even Fitbit only recently got that down in their products. Whether the Polar Loop is waterproof or water resistant, we may never know since the company uses the terms interchangeably, but the Loop is safe to wear in the shower as well as the pool.

For the actual display on the tracker, you have a few modes to choose from. The modes include the time of day, amount of time you have been active that day, number of calories burned, and the number of steps taken. While there are other features, you will have to visit the app or website to see those stats, which is nothing unusual for the LED display fitness tracker models since you can only fit so many LED lights on one wristband.

As for the app, it started off as iOS only, but has since gained an Android version, which is one great benefit of getting an older model. The interface of the app is nice and clean, but it isn’t really a show-stopper. However, one of the best bits of this particular app is that you can set daily goals and the tracker doesn’t just track them, but the app gives you updated suggestions of what you can do to reach those daily goals from any point in your day. It also gives you inactivity alerts, but since the wristband itself doesn’t vibrate or anything this means you have to actually look at your phone.

As well as fitness goal-reaching tips, the app gives you the added function of monitoring your sleep, but you know what is strangely missing from a product made by Polar? A heart rate monitor. They make wearable heart rate monitors for athletes, but they didn’t include it in their first fitness tracker. They did provide the ability to connect with a heart monitor chest strap, but that pretty much doubles the price of the product.

The final feature to mention is the battery life. While the Polar Loop fails in other areas, its battery remains pretty standard with it holding around a five day charge. The less you use the display, the longer the battery will last. However, with the battery life of screened models getting longer these days, how long will it be before five days is paltry?

Conclusion

For a first stab into the world of fitness trackers, the Polar Loop did an admirable job. However, it feels like the brand, one that is already well known for its athletic wearables, was really just testing the waters here. The fact that a company that makes heart rate monitors didn’t include one in their first fitness tracker, but still made it able to sync to one looks a lot like they were just sticking a toe in.

However, if a heart rate monitor isn’t among your basic needs of a fitness tracker or you already have a chest strap laying around, since the Polar Loop is older in the life cycle, it has become extremely affordable. If you are new to fitness trackers or even just want some basic functionality with a really nice app to look over your stats, then the Polar Loop makes for an affordable choice.

Samsung Gear Fit 2 Review

Samsung Gear Fit 2 Review

With each new fitness tracker that comes from Samsung, you watch them make wonderful leaps in quality and functionality. The Samsung Gear Fit 2 is, obviously, the step up from the original Gear Fit. While it features a similar design, the Samsung Gear Fit 2 is built to impress with even more features to give you optimal fitness tracking without drifting into the overly complicated realms of other sports watches.

Design

Samsung Gear Fit 2 Fitness TrackerAt the initial unboxing, well, let’s just say if your wrist needed sunglasses, they would probably look like the Gear Fit 2. You can get the lovely silicone bands in several different colors, but you will always be met with that shiny curved super AMOLED screen that, when turned off, reflects light just like sunglasses. However, that and much of the design hasn’t changed much since the original Gear Fit was released.

What makes the design of the Samsung Gear Fit 2 stand out is the screen after you turn it on. With a 216 x 432 resolution and a superior brightness, you get nice crisp whites and beautiful bright colors. If even has an outdoor mode that lights the screen up even brighter (it is super bright to begin with) so that you can’t miss a thing. However, that mode only lasts for a maximum of five minutes.

As for the bands, while you have a choice in finishes, you also have to choose between and a small and a large size band. Unfortunately, both bands aren’t included to you have to make your best guess at it, and even then, every wrist is different. Thankfully, the clasp on both bands has the ability to make some small adjustments in order to get a more precise fit. While the curved screen can feel a little heavy on the wrist, the fact that it is curved and nestled into the silicone makes the Samsung Gear Fit 2 one of the more comfortable band options around since it can be secured snugly and doesn’t feel bulky if you want to sleep with it on.

It is also worth noting that while the large beautiful screen doesn’t look like it, the Samsung Gear Fit 2 is also water resistant with a rating of IP68. This means you can wear it in water of depths up to 1.5m for 30 minutes. So if you do laps in the pool or want to shower with it on, it is safe to do so.

Features

If you tried the Samsung Gear Fit original, you can expect much of the same features like step tracking, calories burned, sleep monitoring, and distance traveled. However, the Gear Fit 2 amps things up a bit which actually makes the readings much more accurate than the original. One of the biggest changes is the addition of GPS that allows for more accurate distance tracking and allows you to track your route.

Other additions include an optical heart rate sensor on the rear of the band and a barometer inside that can allow you to keep track of the stairs you climb. The GPS, heart rate sensor, and barometer all function well and they actually function almost as well as dedicated fitness accessories for professional athletes. However, like most fitness trackers that sit on the wrist, the heart rate monitoring can occasionally be a little spotty. While your beats per minute may jump up occasionally during exercise, its average heart rate and resting heart rate monitoring are almost spot on.

A nice feature of the Samsung Gear Fit 2 is that it has automatic exercise tracking for running, cycling, and certain gym machines. It also auto-pauses when the activity is stopped for whatever reason. After each work out, the display will also give you a post-workout break down. Unfortunately, it disappears rather quickly, but you can always see it in the app later.

As for the app, all the data of the Gear Fit 2 is sent to the eye-pleasing S Health app where you have access to a nice amount of information, but your simple stats don’t get lost among a hundred different metrics either. Like many other fitness trackers, the app and wristband will let you know if you have been inactive too long, but unlike other fitness trackers, the Gear Fit 2 actually does a nice job of keeping you motivated. It lets you know the small, but motivating details like when you have surpassed your goal or if you climbed more steps than the previous day. Inside the app it also provides nice looking graphs to show marked improvements in your daily activity.

Unfortunately, the Samsung Gear Fit 2 has limited compatibility with 3rd party apps. There are some apps you can get from the Galaxy store, but they probably aren’t what you want. One perk is that it does have a dedicated Spotify app if you don’t want to use the internal storage to put on playlists, but sadly is only works in a few regions. However, as well as being able to listen to music through wireless headphones, it does also have a pretty intuitive interface when it comes to answering calls or sending texts.

Unfortunately the battery of the Samsung Gear Fit 2 comes up a little short, as is often the case with such feature-packed models. On average, the battery will last around three days since you can’t disable the GPS or heart rate monitoring. However, you can increase the charge a little by limiting the amount of apps that ping you throughout the day. While turning off GPS and heart rate monitoring would have been nice, since it has such a large and detailed screen, the charge life probably would not have been much longer anyway.

Conclusion

As fitness trackers get more advanced, sometimes a lot of the basic functionality tends to get lost. However, with the Gear Fit 2, Samsung found a nice balance of beauty, features, and relative simplicity. At no point will casual users feel overwhelmed and even more dedicated fitness enthusiasts can get extremely accurate tracking out of this model.

While the battery life is a little less than desirable, the features that drain the battery give it some of the most accurate readings on the market, making it forgivable. If you want to bridge the gap between your leisurely lifestyle and a more active lifestyle while still getting something that look sleek and lovely on the wrist, the Samsung Gear Fit 2 is one of the better ways to go.

Best Fitness Tracker Under 100

Best Fitness Tracker Under 100

For fitness enthusiasts, a good fitness tracker can be a major purchase in their lives. Many models of fitness trackers cost a couple hundred dollars and have a variety of functions that reflect that. However, while the difference between a fitness tracker that costs below $100 and way above $100 are a few extra features, that doesn’t mean you need to shell out the cash to have better functionality. If you want your next fitness tracker to cost below $100, you are often still getting the core functions that you need in a fitness tracker that work just as good as the more expensive models.

Best Fitness Tracker under 100

Garmin Forerunner 15

Garmin Forerunner 15 Fitness TrackerThe lower in price you go, the more likely it will get that the first thing to be sacrificed is a screen. This is actually what convinces some people to spend those big bucks, because they don’t want to have to open an app just to see a few select metrics. Although the Garmin Forerunner’s screen looks like an old-school Casio watch, it provides the time and information on steps taken, calories burned, and distance traveled right on the LCD screen. The Forerunner also has GPS capability that allows to your better track activities like running. This is further complimented by the ability to easily pause workouts since pausing at cross walks is common with urban running.

While the battery life is a less than preferable five hours, that is only while the GPS is running. When turned off, you get to use this fitness tracker for around five weeks before it will need to be recharged. While the Forerunner is very much geared towards runners, this fitness tracker still remains a great choice for those that just want it for its other fitness tracking capabilities, not so much for the GPS run tracking.

Fitbit Flex 2

Fitbit Flex 2 Fitness TrackerFitbit is considered the top of the line in terms of fitness tracking, or at least the most popular. Unfortunately, the prices for many of their models reflect that. However, while the affordable Fitbit Flex 2 may not be their most recent entry into the Fitbit line, it still proves to be one of their best. Although the Flex 2 lacks a screen, it makes up for it in supreme waterproofing and ultra-thin style that will make you forget that it is even there.

Instead of a screen display, the LED lights on the band flash different colors to let you know that goals are reached. In order to view your metrics, all you need to do is open the app on your phone that allows you to look over your fitness data on a number of activities, including swimming.

Polar Loop 2

Polar Loop 2 Fitness TrackerAlthough Polar got its start with heart rate sensors, its affordable Loop 2 only has compatibility with external sensors while not having one built-in. However, it makes up for this lack of feature by offering better tracking of everything else. Through the Polar Flow app, you can plan and track workouts, sleep metrics like time, quality, and patterns, as well as the usual fitness metrics of steps, distance, and calories burned. The Polar Loop 2 also has an inactivity vibration alert to keep you motivated all day long.

There is one downside that has become infamous for the Polar Loop 2 – its band. It comes in one size and you need to physically cut it in order to create the right size for your wrist. If you mess up, they’ll send you another, but for some the process of sizing the band is enough to make them overlook the accurate and detailed fitness metric tracking of the Polar Loop 2.

Best Fitness Tracker Under $50

Best Fitness Tracker Under $50

Like every new iPhone, it seems that every fitness tracker that comes out from any of the big name manufacturers is constantly going up in price. How long before we have the first $1,000 fitness tracker? That’s probably still a few years out. However, if you want to improve your health by starting to track your activity, you don’t need to aim immediately at the top. In fact, many have found that some of the most reliable and accurate fitness trackers are priced below $50. With the price, you often sacrifice some features, but if you simply want to track your workout, you don’t need to pay exorbitant prices.

The best fitness tracker under $50

Xiaomi Mi Band 2

Xiaomi Mi Band 2 Fitness TrackerOne of the biggest features you lose when you drop below the $50 mark is heart-rate tracking. However, the Xiaomi Mi Band 2 stands well above its other affordable competitors because of this feature inclusion. While heart-rate monitoring can be spotty when doing a sport that causes the band to move around on your skin, it often gives out accurate overall results even if current heart rate in the moment can be spotty.

Its 20-day battery is lower than other models without heart-rate tracking, but that is still a long charge when compared to other more expensive fitness trackers that can barely make it through a day. The one downside of the Xiaomi is that you have to automatically start the exercise tracking when you start your workout, and due to the limited display, you have to go into the app to do so.

Moov Now

Moov Now Fitness TrackerThe hive design that comes with the Moov Now’s trademark band isn’t for everyone. It is this design that has caused some to overlook this fitness tracker in lieu for other affordable alternatives. However, thanks to its unique accelerometer, this deceptively cheap fitness tracker actually has some of the most accurate movement tracking out of all its competitors. The 9-axis accelerometer inside, the same one used for missile guidance systems, is able to track metrics as small as gym repetitions, swim strokes, and running impact. This combines with the standard tracking of steps taken, calories burned, and distance travelled to allow the Moov to give more accurate and personal training feedback.

That feedback is given through the app, as the Moov Now lacks a screen, but it is like working with a personal trainer. Alongside its great functionality, the Moov Now is also waterproof and the replaceable battery that aids towards its waterproofing only needs to be replaced every six months. There are a lot of super cheap trackers that look really good, but rest assured that the Moov Now is one cheap tracker that looks silly, but actually works better than some models that cost twice the price

Fitness Trackers That Play Music

Fitness Trackers That Play Music

Listening to music whilst you exercise is a great way to motivate yourself to do more reps or push harder, longer and stronger . Indeed, there is research to back this up.  And, if you are anything like us the device you play your music on is almost as important as your trainers. What if you could ditch your phone or music device and crank out those uplifting workout tunes. We take a look at the options to try and find the best fitness tracker with music.

Fitness trackers that play music break down into 2 different styles:-

  • Onboard storage where the music is kept natively on the tracker. Typically, they come with about 3GB – 4GB of storage, enough to store around 500 – 800 tunes.
  • Bluetooth paired where you to stream music from a smartphone paired with your tracker.

Another thing to bear in mind is that none of the devices come with a headphone jack and require a set of bluetooth headphones. Dependent on which tracker you buy this may need to be an additional purchase or will come specifically tailored for that tracker.

We’ve scoured the market and compiled a list of the best

Fitness trackers that play music

1. Apple Watch

Apple Watch
Now that we are on series 4 of the Apple watch there are several models that will work as a fitness tracker that play music. If you’re the type who likes the latest or greatest the Apple Watch series 4  with LTE functionality offers the ability to stream music from Apple Music and make calls directly from the watch.If you feel that is overkill the lower spec watches offer 8GB of onboard storage which should give you a reasonable amount of space for tunes. WatchOS4 provides numerous music based benefits including the ability to sync curated playlists from Apple Music to the watch and better synchronization with any iPhone you stream stored music from.

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2. Samsung Gear Fit 2 Pro

Samsung Gear Fit 2 Pro

Another smart watch, this time from Samsung. The waterproof Gear Fit 2 pro comes with all the goodies you would expect from a high end expensive fitness tracker. Running Tizen OS gives you access to a vast array of apps and 4GB of onboard storage allows you to make use of the phones offline Spotify functionality. None of the other fitness trackers that play music offer Spotify support so it is definitely ground breaking.

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3. Fitbit Ionic

Fitbit Ionic
Fitbit acquired Pebble to improve its smart watch offering the first result of which is The Ionic. As you would expect there is a strong emphasis on fitness and the device benefits from Fitbit’s expertise in this area. Other notable features are device payments, silent alarm, notifications and tight integration into the Fitbit ecosystem.
Music wise there is 2.5GB of on board storage which should allow for around 300 songs or other audio tracks. Tracks are added to the device using the Fitbit Connect desktop app and you listen via bluetooth headphones. Overall, it offers a lot of features and fans of Fitibit products will probably like it but for others the price may prove to be prohibitive.

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4. Garmin Vivosmart 3

Garmin Vivosmart 3

The Garmin Vivosmart 3 does not offer as many features as some of the other trackers in this list. Music is not stored on the device itself but is streamed from your mobile phone. You have the ability to pause, play and skip tracks within your default music app. Enough control for some but could be frustrating if you use other music apps like Pandora.

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5. TomTom Spark Cardio + Music

TomTom Spark Cardio + Music

The waterproof flagship in TomTom’s stable equipped with all the features you would expect including GPS, heart rate monitor and a built in music player. Packing 3GB of internal storage gives you have the possibility of storing around 500 songs on the Spark freeing you from the need to carry your phone or music player with you.Getting your music on the Spark is achieved by using the supplied Tom Tom MySports Connect App where you can choose your favourite tunes from your PC and upload them to the device.
As with a lot of fitness trackers there is no headphone jack and you will need to buy a set of compatible bluetooth headphones. Alternatively, you may consider downgrading a couple of models and look at the Tom Tom Spark 3 Music edition where TomTom provide the headphones.
With all these smarts the watch may be a little bit too bulky for some and there are also some reports of slow GPS signal pick up time.

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6. Polar M600

Polar M600

More of a smartwatch than a fitness tracker the waterproof M600 runs on Android Wear and is equipped with a GPS tracker, 1.3 inch touch screen display and optical heart rate monitor. To get the most of your phone you will need an Android mobile as iOS and other devices won’t benefit from the tight integration that Android can offer. Music you can transfer music to the device or use the Google Play to save tracks directly to the watch. 4GB of onboard storage should be enough space to get a few tunes ready for your workout. All in all a great fitness tracker that plays music.

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7. New Balance Run IQ

New Balance Run IQ

Running Android Wear 2 the RunIQ has a large screen and is waterproof up to 50m. it is possible to use the music on your phone or make use of the 4GB of onboard storage and Google Play Music which is around 50 hours. As ever, the device requires bluetooth headphones. The PaceIQ headphones are designed for use and offer the benefit of hearing your current lap stats by clicking on the device’s RunIQ button.

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8. Huwaei Watch 2

Huwaei Watch 2

Probably not as well known as the other brands the Huawei Watch 2 is a fitness focused smart watch. As it is equipped with 4GB of onboard storage and runs Android Wear it gives you the possibility of uploading tracks from Google Play music if you want to go phone free or the ability to control your phones music player if not. The watch also has a built in speaker through which you can play your music. The watch is bulky but a great choice for someone who enjoys all the fitness tracking capabilities of smartphones.

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